May 19

Recorder of Deeds May be Eliminated as Elected Office in Champaign County, Illinois

The News-Gazette, a regional newspaper for Central Illinois reports that Champaign County (where the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is located) is considering phasing out the elected office of Recorder of Deeds at the expiration of the current Recorder’s term. The Recorder’s role would be folded into the office of the County Clerk.

Before I started handling primarily patent and intellectual property matters in 2011, I worked at both the City of Chicago Department of Law and the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal on property regulation, during which time I performed numerous title searches both here in Cook County and across the State. These days, I still handle real property matters from time to time, mostly in the Chicago area and specifically in Cook County. Based on this experience, my overwhelming impression is that the State’s patchwork county-by-county title system is a mess, and I welcome any move to reform, trim and de-politicize the recordation of real property documents, even if only in one or a few counties. In particular, I would hope that changes downstate might influence Illinois’ largest and most inconvenient county, Cook County, to reform its recordation system. To Champaign County: Good Idea, please do it.

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Apr 22

Where are we at with a patent small claims court?

Ever since the USPTO’s December 2012 request for comments on creating a patent small claims court, the patent community and independent inventors have been eagerly awaiting more news. In brief, what is contemplated is a patent small claims proceeding where patent infringement cases with under $1,000,000 at issue may be brought at lower cost to the patentee as compared with regular patent litigation, which must be brought in federal court and at great expense, often beyond what independent inventors can afford. Needless to say, independent inventors could use a break from the all to common occurrence of needing to let an infringement go unchallenged, simply for lack of resources to pursue the claim. So where are Congress and the USPTO on this right now, in Q2 2014?

The answer: House Resolution 3309 (Summary Data|Current Text).
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Mar 26

Intellectual Property to Achieve Broad Goals

I work on the nitty gritty of Intellectual Property — patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Usually, but not always, the goal of the rights holder is to make money. Many independent authors, musicians, app writers, game developers, and artists simply want to share their great work for free, but on their own set terms. this is possible, even over the wild, nearly anything-goes Internet with a combination of careful planning and intellectual property law. Even where the goal is to make money from intellectual property assets, there are numerous strategies and models to choose from.

Contact me today and get the advantage and security of a lawyer-designed strategy at low flat rates.

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Mar 18

How to Fill In Patent Forms – Part 1: Power of Attorney by Applicant

Whether you are working with a patent patent attorney or practitioner or filing a pro se patent application, there are number of forms that you need to fill in. Any filer can use the USPTO-provided fillable PDF forms (and these are not exactly a super-secret of patent practitioners; you can get all of them here). Or you or your practitioner can write a custom form by following the requirements set forth in the MPEP and in Chapter 37 CFR.

I prefer to use the provided form PDFs because many of them benefit from extra validation when e-filing (EFS verifies that you have submitted a filled-in copy of the form you say you are submitting), which is important because it avoids mistakes, and mistakes when filing in the USPTO usually lead to costly surcharge fees. At the same time, many independent inventors and small business applicants do not have complex issues for which customised forms create an efficiency advantage for the patent practitioner. Of course, the downside is that the USPTO-provided PDF forms are confusing and have widespread known compatibility problems. To help my clients and the public navigate through this stuff, I am preparing this series of Blog posts on the most common forms, what they are for, and how to fill them in correctly. In Part I, let’s look at Power of Attorney by Applicant.

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